Front Janet Besler

Christmas light ride promotes safety

Annual bicycle event creates a spectacle in itself

They attract attention wherever they go.

But is it surprising when onlookers see things like a recumbent bike transformed into Santa’s sleigh with reindeer attached, or bikes covered fender-to-fender in colourful lights?

Attracting attention is a key point of the Terry van Fleet Memorial Christmas light ride. The event’s 16th edition, set for Saturday (Dec. 14) will see Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition members and guests cruise more than 15 kilometres through Esquimalt neighbourhoods viewing holiday decorations.

“We still believe that he was doing the right thing,” Coalition rides committee secretary Jan van Hoorn said of van Fleet, who was struck and killed by a pickup truck driver as he rode, with lights on, along Blanshard Street in 1998. “It’s important to be as lit as possible, so drivers can see you.”

As always, riders taking part in this year’s Christmas tour must be outfitted with rear and front safety lights, at least. Participants are also encouraged to add a little extra, for seasonal flair.

“People do appreciate when you’re lit up,” van Hoorn said, especially in a group situation. “What I really like about it is people respond positively to you. They have a different kind of honk, ‘beep beep,’ instead of ‘honk, get out of my way!'”

Riders are asked to meet for registration at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser St., at 6 p.m. Suggested donation is $5. The two-hour ride starts at 6:30 and free refreshments and door prize tickets are available at the end back the rec centre.

Visit gvcc.bc.ca for more information.

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